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Fancy passing + Draymond suspension reaction
Jokić? DeRozan? Best pass of the season so far? Let's have a little fun before the serious stuff
I love passing.
It's my favorite thing to see on a basketball court.
Silky long-range shooting is up there, too, but I would put a delicious dime above anything: Posterization dunks, merciless shot rejections, gravity-defying drives for layups a la Julius Erving in the 1980 NBA Finals. You name it.
The opening week of the season was wonderfully crazy because we got an instant Shot of the Season contender from Luka Dončić with a jump hook/shot put off the glass from more than 30 feet out against Brooklyn as well as an instant Pass of the Season nominee from Nikola Jokić.
It was legitimately fair to wonder out loud, before the calendar had even flipped to November, if this Jokić touchdown to Aaron Gordon — The Joker's sideline out-of-bounds strike to set up Gordon to slam home an alley-oop some 75 feet down the floor — would stand as the best dime seen all season.
Then on Monday night in Chicago, DeMar DeRozan sent that whole script to rewrite.
DeRozan's spinning-in-the-lane, no-look fling out to Coby White for a corner 3 was plenty delicious, too.
I give the edge to Jokić's pass, which you can agree or disagree with below, but the larger takeaway here is: Someone might actually top both of these over the 150 days left in this regular season. We shouldn't assume anything in #thisleague.
PS for Passing Devotees — Indiana's Tyrese Haliburton just rung up 32 assists against zero turnovers in back-to-back games against Philadelphia. According to Basketball Reference, no NBA player has done that since 1967-68.
The previous best in this category was 31 assists without a turnover as achieved both by Jason Williams (with Memphis in 2003) and Kevin Porter (New Jersey in 1978), with John Lucas at 29 for San Antonio in 1984. Jason Kidd (Phoenix in 1998) and Kevin Johnson (Phoenix in 1996) had two-game stretches with 27 assists and zero turnovers.
Haliburton's previous best, as shown on this Basketball Reference list, was 26 assists against zero turnovers in a two-game stretch for the Pacers early last season.
The Draymond Green Suspension
A five-game suspension for Golden State’s Draymond Green for putting Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert in a headlock Tuesday night and pulling him down the floor for nearly 10 seconds marked the first time in a L-O-N-G time that a punishment meted out by the league office proved more severe than I was expecting.
For full reaction to the suspension, as well as lots of talk about the LA Clippers’ 0-5 struggles and Chicago’s potential trade options with Zach LaVine and other Bulls, check out my latest #thisleague UNCUT podcast alongside Turner Sports’ Chris Haynes.
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